ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — New details have emerged about the troubled past of the suspect in Sunday’s shooting spree in West County, connecting him to alleged crimes from St. Louis to St. Charles.
A school teacher whose vehicle was hit by gunfire as the suspect drove a motorcycle on Manchester Road said there were lessons to be learned about mental health from the violent saga.
The St. Louis County Prosecutor charged Jeffrey Burnett, 52, with eight counts of felony weapons offenses, Tuesday. Burnett remained in custody. His bond was set at $350,000, cash-only.
He’s accused of shooting up the Silky’s Frozen Custard stand on Manchester in Ellisville early Sunday evening. He’s also charged with shooting at vehicles on the roadway.
Dr. Michelle Wilkerson, a sixth-grade “Intervention and Enrichment” math teacher in the St. Louis area, lives nearby. She was driving one of the vehicles hit by gunfire. Her 10-year-old daughter was with her.
“He swerved around (on his motorcycle). I saw him pull the gun out and point it straight at us as he’s driving past us,” she said. “Then, I ducked and it was just a ‘pop, pop, pop.’ We weren’t sure exactly if we were shot or not until I got into the Walgreens parking lot. She got out and she was upset. She was like, ‘Is he coming back?’”
Along with Wilkerson’s vehicle and the custard stand, Burnett shot two more vehicles as he drove a motorcycle west on Manchester, according to a court document. Two drivers were injured from flying glass but amazingly, no one was shot.
The staff and management at the Pageant concert hall in St. Louis are grateful for his capture. He was fired from a job there in late 2020.
He had cased the building with weapons, according to police. Saturday, the day before the shooting spree, he allegedly painted graffiti on the building. Later, he later fled from a Manchester officer during a traffic stop, according to police. Twelve days earlier, Burnett’s mother was worried about the guns he kept at her house, according to Manchester Police Chief Scott Will.
“The few (guns) that were in there were taken out of the house and secured at a secure location,” Will said.
FOX 2 confirmed Burnett was also charged with misdemeanor assault in May for allegedly threatening a worker at the St. Charles Harley Davidson shop. He was fired from a job there in February.
He threatened to settle his issues there with “fist, knives, or guns” according to a court document. He carried a gun and a hunting knife. Squirrel pelts dangled from his motorcycle, according to workers.
“I think mental health and gun control need to go hand in hand,” Wilkerson said. “This was someone’s son or student growing up. What happened to him growing up where he didn’t get the help he needed?”
She was also beyond grateful for all of the police agencies that brought these things to an end.
“Chesterfield (police) who sat with me (after the shooting), Ellisville, and Ballwin, I know they got it under control very quickly. Lots of great teamwork,” she said.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol pursued Burnett into Franklin County and then back into St. Louis County, according to a court document. He crashed his motorcycle near Highway 44 and Six Flags Rd and fled on foot but was later arrested. Burnett had a Mac-10 weapon which was a match for the type of bullet casings recovered from the shooting scenes, the document said.
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